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Italy’s quake and a massacre of workers: We accuse!

Seven people were killed in Italy’s May 20 earthquake. 16 are thought to have died in the second quake in the same place in the northern Emilia region of the country Tuesday. The dead were largely and disproportionately workers killed by collapsing factories and warehouses. 

Giorgio Cremaschi, a senior figure in the metalworkers union FIOM, and a left activist, calls the culprits to be found and  justice to be done  

The workers who died in the earthquake in Emilia were killed and the law must identify and punish the culprits. The workplace homicides in Emilia cannot be treated as part of the normal neglect of land and abusive construction. It is much more serious.

The usual neglect of the land, unauthorized construction, was already plain on Sunday  [May 20] night, with the first earthquake. At that point we found ourselves faced with one of the frequent scenarios of territorial degradation. But then something more happened. Many have said that many industrial buildings were built without the knowledge that it was an earthquake zone. Let’s accept that that is true. But the night between Sunday and Monday, May 21, the seismic zone was apparent in all its brutality.

I went last week in the affected areas. I saw the collapsed warehouses, there were only a few victims because the factories were closed, the buildings were substantially all of the same type, manufactured in the same way. Question: why were people allowed to return to work in an earthquake zone, after it had become clear that many facilities were not adequate, indeed, were at risk? We want the culprits, the authorities that because of negligence, omission, superficiality, did not prevent the massacre of workers.

Secondly, we need to know if those who went to work went, as it has been said, of their own free will or, rather, because they were forced because they were on temporary contracts or by blackmail, if a migrant, by the Bossi-Fini [law]*: ‘Either you come to work or you stay home forever’. We must know this.

We want an full and thorough judicial investigation of this Emilian ThyssenKrupp**, caused by the earthquake, that will strike without mercy those who have caused or allowed a massacre of workers to happen when it could have possibly been avoided. The President of [Employers Association] Confindustria, the open and moderate Squinzi, has immediately taken a shameful position of refusing responsibility***.

We accuse, we want justice. Everything else is just talk.

Giorgio Cremaschi

Micromega May 30, 2012

Translation by Revolting Europe

*A controversial and draconian law governing irregular migrants that has been widely abused by unscrupulous employers exploiting migrant labour

** In April an Italian court sentenced German steelmaker ThyssenKrupp’s director-general in Italy to 16.5 years in jail for the deaths of seven workers after a fire at its Turin plant in December 2007. Harald Espenhahn was convicted by a court in Turin in the north of the country of ‘voluntary homicide’, a first in Italy for a workplace accident http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/afp_world/view/1123119/1/.html

***Squinzi has reportedly rejected the idea that warehouses in the area were not safe, after CGIL union leader Susanna Camusso raised the issue.  http://qn.quotidiano.net/cronaca/2012/05/29/720524-terremoto-emilia-capannoni-sicurezza-camusso-squinzi.shtml

Background (AP) 

About revoltingeurope

Writer on Europe's Left, trade union and social movements @tomgilltweets or email [email protected]


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